Stevens’ Stable Looks Gamey For Wokingham
Punters looking to have one last smash in a big Royal Ascot handicap have a chance at 5pm Saturday when the Wokingham Stakes sees 31 sprinters hurtling down the straight.
Roger’s Hunt To Close Them Down?
In recent years, 4-6yo’s emerged on top, which will encourage followers of Roger Charlton’s 5yo, Huntmans Close (10/1). A winner of last season’s Ayr Silver Cup, this gelding built upon that when runner-up in the competitive 22-runner handicap at Newmarket on Guineas weekend (6f, good to firm). Just denied on the line that day, Huntmans Close still looks well treated off just 4lb higher and will enjoy the forecast fast ground.
It’s also worth noting that a top-two effort last time was a good sign for the Wokingham down the years…
Of the last 10 Wokingham winners…
10 were 4-6yo’s
10 had 25 handicap runs or less
10 had a maximum of five handicap wins
9 were drawn 1-11 or 22-30
8 has a 21-60 day rest period
7 made the top two last time
Gamesome To Reverse Form?
While Huntmans Close was runner-up at Newmarket, Olly Stevens’, Gamesome (14/1), really caught the eye back in fifth, blocked in his run before finishing with some purpose. He’ll be 4lb better off with Huntmans Close and is respected.
Kickboxer Hoping For Rain
Also fancied is Godolphin’s, Kickboxer (14/1), who remains on the same mark as when third in a decent sprint handicap at Newmarket three weeks ago (6f, good to firm), though a touch of rain would aid his cause. Rain would also help Robert Le Diable (12/1), who has finished runner-up in a couple of French Group 3’s the last twice.
One not as reliant on the weather is last year’s Stewards’ Cup winner, Intrinsic (16/1), who has won on both fast and soft ground, though he hasn’t been seen since down the field in September’s Portland. Not many Wokingham winners arrive unraced during the current season.
O’Meara Holds Strong Hand
Already proven in terms of fitness this season is David O’Meara’s, Watchable (14/1), third in a couple of big 7f handicaps at Ascot last term, before two creditable Group 3 efforts this spring. The second of those saw Watchable just over 3l behind Goldream at Newmarket, which looks decent form as the winner took Tuesday’s Group 1 sprint here.
O’Meara also has the improving 5yo, Algar Lad (16/1), who recorded a career best in taking a warm sprint handicap at York last month (6f, good), and showed he goes well here by winning a 18-runner handicap over 5f last September.
Another improver is Mick Channon’s 4yo filly, Divine (16/1), a 4l winner of a 6f handicap at Windsor in April, before returning there to be beaten just over in Listed company (6f, good to firm). She’ll handle the fast conditions and is one of the more interesting double-figure priced runners.
A wide-open renewal, but one in which Gamesome can confirm the promise shown when unlucky at Newmarket on Guineas weekend.
This lightly raced colt has been rested since for this prize, and that patience may be rewarded.